Be clear what level of check you’re doing

As an employer, it’s not only important that you do the correct level of criminal record check, but it’s also important you communicate that you’re doing the right level.

This is something that Morrisons found out when there was a news article where they were slammed for snooping on job applicants.

The article starts off by saying that:

“Concerns are being raised about the privacy of staff at a new supermarket being invaded after background checks were carried out on all employees with no reason for doing so.

All of the 295 staff working at the new Morrisons, due to open in Ampthill Road, Bedford, tomorrow morning, have been checked by the company to find out not only about any criminal convictions, but also reprimands, warnings and cautions for minor offences which would be categorised as spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.”

We understand that when questioned, the press office at Morrisons reinforced their approach; that they were carrying out checks that would disclose spent convictions.

So we wrote to them. In response to our letter, they response clarified their position:

“We carry out basic level checks (through Disclosure Scotland) in respect of all perspective colleagues. The report at the Bedfordshire on Sunday is wrong to assert that we carry out standard level checks on all job applicants. We do not.”

This is what we would expect. Ordinary positions in a supermarket would not be entitled to any higher level check than a basic disclosure.

This goes to show how important it is to be clear from the start what level of check you’re carrying out.


Useful links

  • We have guidance on doing the correct level of criminal record check.
  • If you have any questions about this post, comment below or contact us.


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